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Pittsburgh Personal Injury Law Blog

Is controversial addiction therapy safe?

There's an interesting and somewhat disturbing story about how one particular doctor claims to have learned how to treat addiction by using a controversial procedure. The doctor also claims that the procedure can be used in helping individuals that have suffered concussions and head trauma. Former NFL quarterback Bernie Kosar has even attested to the success of this doctor's treatment known as "rapid detox" for ridding him of headaches, insomnia and slurred speech.

The addiction treatment in question involves the administration of anesthesia upon the patient, and then giving the patient drugs that were usually meant to treat withdrawal. It is also said that this doctor tells his patients Bible stories and will pray for "supernatural wisdom" before conducting treatments.

Tainted medications and medical malpractice

Healthcare professionals in Pennsylvania may not be held strictly liable when drugs or medical devices cause injuries. However, this is not the same as saying that doctors or hospitals cannot be held liable whatsoever. It just means that the attorney for the injured party will have to prove up their claim that the medical provider was at least in part responsible for the injury.

The reason why this is important is because of a whole slew of cases that have come about recently involving injury to patients because tainted medications have been prescribed. The most notorious of those cases came about because of a compounding pharmacy distributed medications that led to a meningitis outbreak that has been claimed to have sickened 700 individuals and cause the death of 45 people.

Method for detecting sponges left in patients

Too often, sponges are left inside of patients during surgery. Close to 40 sponges are left in patients every week throughout the United States, and foreign bodies such as this are responsible for post operative infections and other adverse medical conditions.

One hospital is being proactive concerning such mistakes by using available technology to prevent medical staff from leaving sponges behind. Besides just counting the number of sponges, each surgical sponge used by hospital staff contains a radio frequency tag that will send a signal as to the sponge location.

Did failure to answer emergency page lead to mother's death?

Though the headlines tell a story about a Catholic hospital attempting to reduce liability in a medical malpractice lawsuit by arguing that the fetuses that died could not be legally considered people, the real tragedy occurred in the operating room where the mother and the two fetuses died.

A 31-year old woman was 7 months pregnant and carrying twin boys in the womb. She felt ill and was taken to the examination room in the hospital. While vomiting and short of breath, medical staff attempted to resuscitate her at the same time that they were attempting to page the obstetrician that was on duty for emergencies that evening. The doctor never answered his page.

Pennsylvania PTSD never properly diagnosed or treated

A federal judge awarded a former soldier $3.7 million concerning a hospital's failure to properly diagnose or provide treatment concerning the veteran's post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The veteran in question lives in Pennsylvania, and the lawsuit named a VA Hospital here in Pennsylvania as well.

It is asserted that a failure to treat the PTSD in a timely fashion contributed to the soldier's rapid decline. Though a diagnosis of PTSD had been made four months earlier, the VA Hospital never allowed for him to see a physician. Instead, it appears that he was "administered a medication that would result in self-medication with and addictive substance."

Surgical errors that resulted in brain injury

discipline these medical professionals. Even after large medical malpractice verdicts have been returned, doctors often retain their same positions and can be guilty of additional medical mistakes.

One doctor reportedly had problems clearing a tracheotomy tube, and the deprivation of oxygen that came about due to this delay caused the patient brain damage. Another doctor left the delivery room while reports of fetal heart monitoring were showing signs of distress, and the child was then born with cerebral palsy and brain injury.

Mix-up of medications for epileptic children

One registered pharmacist from Pennsylvania has reportedly heard of a number of mix-ups concerning medications that are given to certain children suffering from epilepsy. The children that suffer from a severe form of epilepsy called Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS) are apparently at risk for receiving the wrong medication because the prescribed drug is close in name to another prescribed drug.

Though some of these children should be prescribed clobazam, sometimes they are instead prescribed clonazepam. And while both are used to treat panic attacks and epilepsy, clonazepam is approximately 10 times stronger in potency. Yet because these drugs are used to treat similar symptoms and have such a close spelling in names, one drug is often confused with the other.

Protecting cancer patients from infections

Cancer patients receiving chemotherapy are nevertheless prone to other medical conditions as well. Patients also often fight a systemic infection known as neutropenic sepsis.

Especially among cancer patients, the condition comes about due to a low white blood cell count necessary to fight off infection. These cells are often eliminated during chemotherapy sessions used by hospitals to fight off the original cancer.

Efforts to reduce surgical errors

studies have shown that most such errors result from lack of leadership or poor communication. Younger and more inexperienced doctors were the most likely of all surgeons to commit these surgical errors.

One researcher pointed out that hospitals approach errors made in their field less systematically than other industries, and this individual stated that the medical field has to be open on the way others reduce mistakes. The preventable errors that we mentioned about in other posts he feels should never occur.

Birth injury suit now at U.S. Supreme Court

While waiting for the outcome of medical malpractice cases, patients and family members may be facing medical bills in excess of $100,000. Because these individuals simply do not have the funds to pay such bills, they may apply for Medicare or Medicaid relief to help pay the bills. Such a scenario is now the subject of a United States Supreme Court case.

A child that was reportedly injured at birth due to medical malpractice was awarded $2.8 million is a settlement with the treating medical providers. The reason for the award in part came about because the child is now deaf, blind and suffering from cerebral palsy - presumably due to birth injuries she suffered because of medical malpractice.

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